Pepe Builds a Nest

Stories for the Early Years (Book 1)

Children - Grade K-3rd
48 Pages
Reviewed on 01/02/2017
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Author Biography

Theodore J. Cohen, PhD, holds three degrees in the physical sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has been an engineer and scientist for more than 45 years. From December 1961 through early March 1962, he participated in the 16th Chilean Expedition to the Antarctic. The U.S. Board of Geographic Names in October, 1964, named the geographical feature Cohen Islands, located at 63° 18' S.latitude, 57° 53' W. longitude, in the Cape Legoupil area, Antarctica, in his honor. In addition to his adult novels (primarily mystery/thrillers), he also writes Young Adult (YA) novels under the pen name "Alyssa Devine."

    Book Review

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

Lyrical and rhythmic, Pepe Builds a Nest by Theodore Jerome Cohen is a priceless gem that young readers will devour with awesome delight. I read it with my six-year-old son and he was thrilled. It’s a beautiful story simply told, a story about a penguin named Pepe who builds his nest of rocks, but when he was ready to create the masterpiece for himself and Miss Amber, the bully Otto comes along and begins to steal his stones. Can Pepe stand up to him? How things turn out is the beauty of this story and readers will love the part played by others.

Although this book is written for kids, I enjoyed it, and it has lessons that grownups can apply to their own lives and thoughts they should ponder on, because grownups are the worst bullies. The poetry is so beautiful one gets the feeling they are listening to a beautiful song. Listen to the opening lines:

“Pepe the Penguin, a bright lad of one,
looked up to the sky and welcomed the sun.
The long night was over, no time to rest.
It was time to rejoice and build his first nest.”

And so the music goes on and on until Otto comes along and sets his ugly game into motion:

“Otto, the bully, watched Pepe with glee.
“I’ll steal his rocks, just you watch me!”
“His nest is so big, his pile is so high,
he won’t miss many, I’ll give it a try.”

Pepe Builds a Nest is rich with imagery and sound; the rhyme is perfect and it will allow young readers to build their vocabulary and learn to appreciate poetry as they get absorbed into the steady rhythm of the lyrical tale. The illustrations are well done, adding a new feel to an already beautiful story. I won’t hesitate to recommend this book as a perfect addition to kids’ libraries at home.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Pepe is a penguin. He knows it’s going to be a busy day. He has to build his nest, a nest fit for a queen, his queen. The nest is made of stones and while Pepe laboriously collects one stone after another, a jealous bully penguin, Otto, seizes the opportunity to steal Pepe’s stones while he’s out looking for more. Pepe soon catches on and confronts the bully. His other penguin friends back him up and the bully gives in and helps Pepe rebuild his nest. Otto and Pepe, as they work together, become good friends.

Theodore Jerome Cohen’s colorful picture book story, Pepe Builds a Nest, deals with complex issues that all young children must face: bullying and making choices. He chooses a penguin to relate the story in an interesting and informative approach. While outlining the issues, the author also teaches young readers about penguins, how industrious they are, and how they build their nests. The story is told in rhyming verse and presents its message simply. As the penguins point out to the bully, “We all can make choices. What’s important in life is that you should play fair.”

In any group of living beings, there is always at least one who stands out as thinking too highly of themselves. In this story, it’s Otto. He’s bigger than Pepe and he thinks he can get away with anything. The interesting thing is that Otto works so hard to cheat Pepe, young readers might wonder why he didn’t just work hard to build his own nest the fair way in the first place. Life is all about choices and playing fair. An informative way of teaching valuable life lessons.

Rosie Malezer

Pepe Builds a Nest is a children’s book, written in rhyme by Theodore Jerome Cohen. Pepe the Penguin smiles as a new day dawns for it is time to build a nest for his bride, Miss Amber. As an Adélie penguin, Pepe’s nest will be made of stones. He quickly gets busy, working hard to find the best and brightest stones on the shore and among the rocks but, when his back is turned, Otto – a bully and a thief – lazily decides that he will steal all of Pepe’s stones. Otto does not want to do any hard work, and it seems that all of Pepe’s stones are prettier than anybody else’s. When Pepe wises up to the fact that he is being robbed, he confronts Otto, catching him in the act. At first, Otto doesn’t want to give the stolen property back, but Pepe’s friends, Clyde, Bill and Claire are there to lend their friend backup, should Otto continue to misbehave. When several penguins confront Otto over his wrongdoing, it leads to his apology to Pepe before returning all of the stones. With Pepe’s nest now as beautiful as it once was, Miss Amber has the perfect nest to lay her eggs.

I do enjoy stories which give animals a human persona, and Theodore Jerome Cohen has done an outstanding job at presenting these beautiful and lively animals within an imaginative tale. Children tend to relate easier to animals in a story when the animals are given human personalities akin to their own. Pepe Builds a Nest is well-written, showing many essential personality traits such as friendship, love, family and loyalty, as well as how to deal with bullying thieves when they strike. Otto, the bully, is shown as a loner who prefers to be on his own and has no friends, whereas Pepe is portrayed as caring, hard-working and honest, surrounded by friends who have his back. I was delighted with the ongoing dialogue in this educational book, which also teaches the behavioral patterns of the Adélie penguin during mating season. I recommend this book to early readers aged 4-7, so that they may see the beauty and magnificence in such majestic creatures, whilst engaging the tale of how Pepe overcame hurdles in order to make his nest.

Lesa McKee

Pepe Builds a Nest by Theodore Jerome Cohen is an engaging children’s story that focuses on the life of Pepe the Penguin. The time has come for Pepe’s group of penguins to build their nests. Each penguin begins their search for the perfect material to build their new home … a collection of rocks. And the brighter, the better! Pepe seems to discover the best rocks of all which brings a flock of admirers to his nest. However, it causes some jealousy in one very naughty penguin, the group bully, Otto. He decides he has to have Pepe's rocks for himself to make the very best nest, even if he has to steal them. Yikes! How will Pepe handle it when the worst happens and he finds his rocks are missing?

I love how Theodore Jerome Cohen showcases adorable penguin characters, a grand wintry setting of snow and ice, and fine rhymes throughout his story, Pepe Builds a Nest. Children will be rooting for Pepe while learning some great lessons such as how envy can build up and lead to a sense of entitlement and thievery, and how being a good friend means you’re happy for others, even when they have nicer things than you. Readers also learn there’s power in numbers when it comes to standing up to a bully.

This book is just the right length for children, and the simple illustrations add a fun touch of whimsy to Pepe’s world. This is the perfect read to chase away those winter blahs and celebrate the chilly season instead. I highly recommend Pepe Builds a Nest to kids of any climate!

Jack Magnus

Pepe Builds a Nest is a children's animal book written by Theodore Jerome Cohen. Cohen was a member of the 16th Chilean Expedition to the Antarctic from December 1961 through March 1962. Pepe, the penguin, was one year old, and the sun had finally returned. He knew he had to make his nest so he could find a mate and start a family. Pepe needed stones, lots of them, to make the best and highest nest. He searched far and wide, kept on finding his stones and, one by one, bringing them to the place where he was building that nest. He wasn't the only penguin who needed a nest. All his friends were busily gathering stones and making their own nests. Otto, who was bigger than most and a bit of a bully, watched Pepe as he was hard at work. Otto figured that the best way for him to build his nest was to borrow some of Pepe's stones. After all, Pepe had so many that he probably wouldn't miss a stone, or two, or even three.

Theodore Jerome Cohen's children's nature book, Pepe Builds a Nest, teaches children about penguins and their nesting habits as it discusses the very real problem of bullying and bullies. I loved the illustrations Cohen selected for his story. They fitted the story perfectly. The story itself is both informative and entertaining as the author uses a light rhyme scheme throughout that never overwhelms the subject matter. His introduction of the bully Otto both highlights the facts that bullies exist -- even in the natural world -- and that it's a good thing to stand up to them. Who would have thought that a nest of stones could be so appealing? I learned quite a bit from this gentle and disarming tale, and think it's a grand selection for story time. It's also perfect for new readers to try on their own. Pepe Builds a Nest is most highly recommended.